Rock Impressions

INTERVIEW WITH C. NOLAN & O. WAKEMAN (italian version)
by Giancarlo Bolther

Can you describe to us your meeting (how you have known yourselves?) and how is born your musical collaboration?
It was actually a bit of a coincidence. Oliver was at a certain radio station when Mick Pointer was doing an interview for Arena. They got talking, and then Mick put us in touch. Oliver sent me a tape of some music he'd been working on, and we met up. After a few trips down the pub, and some more talking we decided it would be fun to make an album together.

Can you describe how the new album was born and how have you completed the project?
After making the Jabberwocky album, we were trying to think of a new subject for the next one. I'm a big Sherlock Holmes fan, and it didn't take too long to come to the conclusion that the 'Hound' was the most famous story. That was it. After that it was a case of writing the music and gathering the players. This, we did over the next year or so. It was easier, because most of the performewrs had already worked with us on the Jabberwocky.

How do you manage the compositive process?
We tend to work separately at the beginning. Then, we get together with our material and start to choose the best and most suitable bits. That process happen up here in my keyboard room, and therefore the arangements of the music start to take on a more consistent feel. We work over quite a long period, so that gives us time to think about the material. It works for us!

What kind of problems have you faced off?
Very few. The main problem is usualyy having toomuch material... we then have to be more concise. Actually on the 'Hound' we also had to cut the story down from about 150 pages to 8 pages... that was tricky!! Then the only other probelm is co-ordinating all the performers during the recording period.

Are you satisfied with the new record? How are going the responses?
So far, so good. The reviews I've seen have been excellent, and the reaction and sales have been great. We're happy.

Which are the differences, for your opinion, from your two releases?
I think the the 'hound' was a slightly larger project.... a little more ambitious. It have some rockier, heavier moments as well. I guess there was a bit more pressure on us this time, to follow Jabberwocky... but we didn't really let that bother us.

Listening to The Hound of the Baskervilles it seems to me that you were influenced by Imaginos from Blue Oyster Cult and by Goblin (the italian band resposable of the sountracks of Dario Argento's films like Profondo Rosso (Deep Red), Suspiria and also Zombi and many others)?
Er, no... not really. Some things may sink in subliminally, but I'm not aware of those infuences. Possibly a little Danny Elfman here and there, couples with some Morricone..;)

Are you thinking about a third chapter?
Yes indeed. Oliver and I have been given the go ahead to move on to the third album.... that's good news, becasue it means the 'Hound' is selling well enough. We are talking about various possibilities at the moment.

Have you ever thinked to combine your music with a multimedia project?
It has been discussed... no plans yet..;)

Why have you worked with (more or less) the same musicians into your albums?
WEll, you get to know how people work. The guys on Jabberwocky did a great job, and wanted to return... we certainly weren't going to stop them... but we did add some new faces.. which we will again.

Who is the one that impressed you best?
Well, I always think Bob Catley gets the 'man of the match' award. Great voice and so quick in the studio. He usually comes down and stays for three days, but we're usually partying by the end of day one, with the job done..;) Mind you, there are plenty of other great players...

How you have made to be involved Robert Powell?
We met him at the launch party Rick was having for 'Return to the Centre of the Earth'. It was brilliant for me, because I'm a real fan. Actually Oliver has known him since childhood. We talking to him about the new album, and Robert very kindly offered to narrate if we wanted him to.... the answer was 'YES'.. we wanted him to.

Thoughts to represent alive your works or will remain only studio projects?
WE would love to perform the material live, but unfortunately financial considerations put a damper on that at the moment. We hope, one day, to find a way onto stage.

According to you what developments will be for progressive music in the next few years?
That's difficult to say. I think 'Progressive Rock' is gradually splitting into many more subsections. This is probably a good thing. For example what we do is far removed from the American perception of 'Progressive'. I guess we'll just try and keep moving forward in our own way, and leave the 'analysis' to someone else.

(Q for Nolan) Why do you prefer to distribute yours works with the Verglas, a small rather than with a major?
Initially it was simply a matter of 'no choice'. There were no majors interested, so we thought either don't do the albums or bring them out on a new small label. Nowadays I prefer this because we have control over all the artistic elements of the albums. Besides, being on a major label isn't neccessarily the end of your problems, it's usually just the beginning!!

(Q for Nolan) You carry many plans ahead, what you have found in this one that the others have not given to you?
The freedom to have a little innocent fun. A chance to explore the question... 'is there humour in Progressive Rock?'.... and find that the answer is 'Yes' (not the band... although...;)

(Q for Nolan) With Arena you have played with Saga on the last tour, how it has gone, do you have found yourselves well with Saga?
We had a great time. They were excellent hosts and looked after us very well. I like to think it gave us an opportunity to reach out to a load more people... hopefully we won a few over.

A salute to your italian fans?
A big 'hello' to all everyone out there. Hope to see you on tour some time!


Reviews (in italian): The Hound of the Baskervilles

Retrospettiva su Clive Nolan (article in italian)

Related Artists: Arena; Pendragon

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